Professional Musky Tournament Trail anglers enjoyed the best musky fishing action ever in 22 years of the trail’s existence during the Musky Hunter Magazine Late Summer Bash on the Okoboji/Spirit Lake chain in northwest Iowa. An incredible two-day total of 84 muskies caught and two individual records fell during the August 29-30 tournament.
There is always one team that figures out the hot tactic to catch muskies at these tournaments and this time it was local anglers Matt Ahrenholtz of Carrol, Iowa, and Shane Akin of Milford, Iowa. Under mostly sunny skies, with slight winds, and water and air temperatures in the mid-70s, the two used jerkbaits with orange bellies while casting a hot weedline they found three weeks prior to the tournament. The weedline featured a pocket and then a flat, and was holding perch and other baitfish. Ahrenholtz and Akin boated a record-setting nine muskies on Day One of the tournament from the spot.
On Day 2, they went back to the same area and caught two more muskies for a total of 11 in the tournament up to 42 1/2 inches. The muskies were biting so well that at one point they caught fish on back-to-back casts. Their 11 muskies set a two-day PMTT record as they took home the first place honors.
In second place were Scott Bugalski of Stone Lake, Wisconsin, and Benjamin Peterson of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, with six muskies up to 43 inches caught on Medussas and SRJ Pandemonium baits in the weeds.
In third place were Jared Donar of Oregon, Wisconsin, and Kevin Nash of Aurora, Illinois, who caught five muskies up to 37 1/2 inches from shallow weeds.
Placing fourth were Shawn Josephson of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and Ryan Knapp, who also caught five muskies up to 37 3/4 inches.
Rounding out the top five were Bill Burns of Morehead, Kentucky, and Dave Lee of Cincinnati, Ohio, with three muskies from the weeds.
The Musky Hunter Magazine big fish of the tournament, a 48 1/2-inch musky, was caught by the father/son team of Gino and John Valasek.
Next up on the PMTT trail is the Chippewa Flowage Qualifier in Hayward, Wisconsin, on September 26-27, and then the Ranger Boats World Championship on Cave Run Lake in Morehead, Kentucky, on October 23-25.